Not the usual Connecticut Farmers Market, all produce and products at the Shelton CT Farmers’ Market, located at 100 Canal Street in Shelton, are grown, raised or created by the farmers and artisans at the market. The market is managed by an association of farmers, artisans and citizens that are involved as board of director members, market masters, marketing committee members and members-at-large. The market’s mission is to provide fresh local foods and artisanal products to its members and customers in an environmentally, economically sustainable fashion while still maintaining its integrity as a producer-only venue.
The market has a long history in Shelton, dating back to its creation in 1993 by a local farmer, Guy Beardsley, on a barren dirt field on Canal Street. In 1997, the town of Shelton acquired the land on which the farmers’ market building now stands. It was part of the city’s revitalization plan, which called for the cleanup and restoration of targeted brownfields to provide new open space, commerce and housing. It was then determined that a farmers’ market would be a viable and appropriate reuse for this property. The heated building, erected in 2005, includes restrooms, storage space for the market, seven automated “garage doors” for easy access for loading and unloading, indoor and outdoor lighting, electricity, and space for as many as 50 vendors indoors and outdoors. The building has a paved courtyard surrounding it and ample free parking. It is adjacent to the Shelton Riverwalk and Veteran’s Memorial Park.
In 2015, then market master, Guy Beardsley, stepped down after 22 years of running the successful market. A new association was developed and Stacia Monahan, another local farmer, stepped in to head up the market’s board of directors.
The 2017 season will begin on May 6; the market will be open on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm weekly until Thanksgiving. In June, the market will be open on Wednesday afternoons as well from 3 to 6:30pm until the end of October. This year brings the possibility of an additional market day during the week in Huntington Center.
The market offers a market membership for a donation of $25. This will enable the market association to continue to grow the market, to provide community outreach speakers and workshops, to provide live music at every market and to offer special events for the community. Members will receive a membership card, market tote and special offers from all vendors at the Saturday markets from May to Thanksgiving. The market accepts cash, credit and debit, SNAP, EBT and Farmers Market WIC FMNP.
In addition, the market is launching a new The Valley Sprouts children’s club this year at the Shelton CT Farmers Market. The cost to families will be $10 for the first child and $5 per sibling thereafter. The Valley Sprouts tent will be open each Saturday. Once a month in June, July, August and September, there will be two-hour Saturday special events. These will include yoga; music sessions; and agricultural education, nutrition and craft activities. Each Saturday, children who are Sprout members can access the sensory table, coloring pages and newsletter in the tent and participate in self-guided crafts. They will also be able to shop at the market for a vegetable each week in an effort to encourage healthy choices that will carry on through their adult lives.
Vendors for the 2017 season will offer local farm produce and meats, fresh eggs, local fresh flowers, honey, baked goods, wine, all-natural, homemade dog treats and essential oil sprays. Salves for dogs and hand-crafted bandana blankets and beds for pets will be available. Other vendors offer hand-made furniture, reclaimed wood signs, a mobile bike repair service, local alpaca and llama yarn, soaps and candles, and hand-made goods by local artisans. The market offers live local music, breakfast, lunch sandwiches and soup weekly.